NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Agrees To Plea Bargain Deal

from the totally-understandable dept

In our earlier post about the case against Thomas Drake, I sort of suspected he would eventually take the plea bargain deal, which is why I warned that people shouldn't be upset if he did. And he's now done exactly that, but the details seem reasonable. He rejected two separate plea bargain offers, even ones that likely would have meant no jailtime, if it meant agreeing to things he didn't think were accurate. In the end, the agreement he took involves pleading guilty to unauthorized use of a computer, which could carry a one-year sentence, but prosecutors have agreed that they won't oppose it if he seeks a non-jail sentence.

As I said in the earlier post, as much as it would have been nice to see him fight all the way to the end and totally clear his name, this seems perfectly reasonable. In this way, the key parts of the case -- involving a really awful attempt by the federal government to abuse the Espionage Act to punish a clear whistleblower -- gets totally dumped. And, when you're faced with the potential of 35-years in prison, at some point reality sets in and it's almost crazy not to take a plea bargain that gets you no jail time. Just the fact that he turned down the two earlier plea deals is pretty amazing. In the end, the only way to look at this is that Drake stood up to the government and won. The feds won't get the precedent they wanted for using the Espionage Act against a whistleblower, and plenty of people learned about the ridiculous vindictive prosecution by the federal government.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    JustMe (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 3:16am

    Win for the good guy

    (finally)

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 3:16am

    The department of homeland security, the department of defense, the national security agency, you know, that's it. We should just have a department called the redundancy department of redundancy.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 4:20am

    "And, when you're faced with the potential of 35-years in prison, at some point reality sets in and it's almost crazy not to take a plea bargain that gets you no jail time."

    Clearly a broken system.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 7:57am

      Re:

      representative democracy, even the incredably dubious sort present in the USA, takes Decades to break properly... and is almost impossible to fix.

      (compare to dictatorship, where problems can show up in a day and be fixed as quickly. faster, depending on what's causing them. maybe a week if you have to assasinate someone first...)

      it's not in any way actually about the wants or needs of the people. it's about stability and preventing revolt.

      add to that the shear Mass of an Imperial-size state entity's bureaucracy (which the USA clearly has) ...

      once something goes wrong it's basically impossible to fix properly, let alone fight the outcome. i suspect to really fix the current system you'd need a full scale revolution, and That's not getting you anywhere against a government with a modern army and tech unless the military decides to be neutral and stay out of it (and with all the different military-bits that aren't actually the national army that the USA has going on, not to mention the 'private security companies' (read 'mercenaries) That's never going to happen properly)

      and then there's the fun if the Military fragments. i wouldn't trust high ranking US individuals with control of nuclear weapons in a civil war... forget selling the things, they'd probably Use them.

      ok, pet rant all done with:

      basically the US system an't likely to get fixed without a massive popular uprising... and is unlikely to Stay fixed if the US remains a single entity.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 4:20am

    Fags

     

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      DannyB (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 6:07am

      Re:

      I suspect that statistically speaking, most of the people behind this are heterosexual. Regardless, it is irrelevant to how badly they behave.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 7:21am

        Re: Re:

        I suspect that statistically speaking, most of the people behind this are in fact Harley riders.

         

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        Chargone (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re:

        doesn't prevent us calling them small bundles of sticks though :)

         

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        Asiatic, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 8:24am

        Re: Re:

        What does sexual orientation have to do with any part of this blog? Are u just some homophobe or what?

         

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        TheSteelGeneral (profile), Jun 16th, 2011 @ 2:17am

        statistically speaking

        "I suspect that statistically speaking, most of the people behind this are heterosexual. Regardless, it is irrelevant to how badly they behave."

        I suspect that statistically speaking, most of the people behind this are white christians (or rather, thinking of themselves as christians). Sadly, that is VERY relevant to how badly they behave, which is very bad indeed.

        But .... it won't be held against them, since they are "real" Americans ....

         

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      Ron Rezendes (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      fag ▶noun. 1 informal a tiring or unwelcome task
      As in reading your idiotic post?

      Or maybe he's calling people names:

      1.) A student at a British public school who is required to perform menial tasks for a student in a higher class

      2.) A cigarette.

      3.) An extremely annoying, inconsiderate person most commonly associated with Harley riders.

      In the end, apparently this was his "hole-goal" originally, there is nothing to be gained from the AC comment.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 5:22am

    How About Going After The Real Bad Guys

    Thomas Drake should be lauded as a hero, not still facing prosecution on trumped-up charges. Now how about the government going after the real bad guys, the ones who knowingly wasted over $1 Billion of the poor old US taxpayer's money on a total boondoggle. That was fraud, good old always-been-illegal fraud. The fraudulent nature was obvious for years to those in the know. Senior people were shuttling back and forth between the contractor and the government, proving that the revolving door was in operation. There should easily be enough evidence to put dozens of perps away for years, with the major perp doing at least ten years.

     

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      quickbrownfox, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 7:24am

      Re: How About Going After The Real Bad Guys

      Absolutely agree!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 10:36am

      Re: How About Going After The Real Bad Guys

      over $1 Billion of the poor old US taxpayer's money on a total boondoggle. That was fraud, good old always-been-illegal fraud.

      No, that's just "business as usual" in a corporatocracy.

       

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    Jose_X, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    Good for Drake

    The feds get some sense. Maybe the political pressure or something else got to them. It's important to write to politicians showing support (that and making noise in public).

    Older piece of good news is that the government appears to have gone after one of the people who was the least likely to ultimately be found guilty, in some way, letting others off the hook fairly lightly.

    No major example was set here, but we have to believe that anyone who is considering whistle-blowing will think 4 or 5 times about it rather than the mere 3. We need a solid Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act to be passed. http://www.whistleblower.org/press/press-release-archive/858-taxpayer-dollars-fund-retaliatory-inves tigations-report-shows-tactics-used-to-muzzle-federal-employees

    Manning needs to be released. The People need to know what we are doing with our weapons in the name of the US. Manning or whomever did the wikileaks has helped. Transparency is a check on corruption and is required for voters to exercise proper judgement.

     

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      Prisoner 201, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 9:25am

      Re: Good for Drake

      I agree, democracy is about the people making a choice. That choice becomes utterly pointless if facts needed to make the choice are hidden.

       

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